July 28, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Brandon Saine (33) rushes with the football as linebacker D.J. Smith (51) reaches out during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, WI. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The next Packers unsung hero? D.J. Smith

With the loss of Desmond Bishop, it's time for D.J. Smith to make an impact. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

It looks like the Green Bay Packers have lost inside linebacker Desmond Bishop for most of the season, if not the entire 2012 campaign.

The little known, big hitting Bishop was vastly underrated, but a huge value to the Packers’ defense. No doubt, the players, coaches and fans will miss him.

But it’s time to face reality and look ahead, folks. We’ve been down this road before – when your best player at a position goes down and the next guy has to be plugged in and ready to go. So, where is it we go from here?

D.J. Smith.

He’s the next guy up.

If there’s a player poised to make some noise and take full advantage of the opportunity, it’s Smith.

Remember last year when both Hawk and Bishop sat with injuries and it was Smith and Robert Francois who came in and lit the place with inspired play? Well, it’s time again for Smith.

I feel he will shine. Whenever he enters a game, something happens. The guy is constantly around the ball and is constantly making big plays. Some say his height is a huge disadvantage. Maybe so. It might hinder his coverage skills, but he brings more than that to the table. He finds the creases, sheds blocks and seems to always get to the ball. I like that and I think Packers fans will quickly take to his brand of play.

That’s why I think he’s going to step in and become the next Packers’ unsung hero.

The opportunity is there. I feel Smith is the one to seize it.

In the meantime, we wish Bishop a speedy recovery because despite all that Smith will bring, the Packers need Bishop on the field.

As a side note, the injury to Bishop also makes it a lock that his inside partner, A.J. Hawk, will stay with the team. There are many who felt Hawk might be traded or even cut by the end of Training Camp. With Bishop out of the picture and the depth depleted, it’s almost certain that Hawk will be around when the Packers kick off against the San Francisco 49ers in the season opener.

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Tags: A J Hawk D.J. Smith Desmond Bishop Green Bay Packers

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